Old Babylonian Terracotta Relief with a Symplegma Scene

Culture: Mesopotamia
Period: 1st half of 2nd millennium B.C.
Material: Terracotta
Dimensions: 12.1 cm x 9 cm
Price: 6 800 Euro
Ref: 6456
Provenance: Private collection Shlomo Moussaieff (1925-2015), Israel. Acquired between 1948 and 2000.
Condition: The left lower corner broken off, otherwise intact. The relief with wonderfully preserved details and face features.
Description: Extraordinarily large terracotta relief very detailly worked out with a symplegma scene. Depicted is a straight standing couple during intercourse. The bearded man stands behind the woman and is without clothes except for a cap. He holds with his right hand the woman’s bent leg up and places his left hand on her shoulder. The woman is slightly bent forward, she only wears a thin belt and has her braided hair pulled back to a bun. Her right arm rests on the bent leg, with her left one holding a long reed straw to suck beer from a high vase. Erotic scenes such as the present one were exclusively found in Mesopotamia. They are considered as votive offerings for fertility rites. At the same time they are awarded apotropaic functions. See for the typus the terracotta relief in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin with the number VA Bab 03576.